Northampton Sessions House

Northampton Sessions House

Built in 1675 following the Great Fire of Northampton, the Sessions House is often considered one of the finest provincial courthouses in England. The court finally moved in 1993, and the building stood empty until 2010 when a new visitor centre was opened. Of particular note is the plasterwork on the ceilings. The Sessions House is constructed of stone with baroque details. The building is adjacent to County Hall, the home of Northamptonshire County Council.

The reception and the county's tourist information centre is based at the Sessions House in Northampton. Residents and visitors can now access on-the-spot help and advice about council services, places to visit in the county, use of computer terminals to access tourist information and a small exhibition space. The centre also has fully-accessible toilet facilities.

However, it is as the centre of Northamptonshire’s rich history of crime and punishment that the Sessions House is most remembered. One of the most notorious cases tried there involved two women who were accused of witchcraft. Elinor Shaw and Mary Phillips, both from Oundle, were hanged in 1705 for their offences, the last two individuals in England to be executed as witches.

Inside the Sessions House there is a new visitor and welcome centre, an 18th Century Crown
Court and a 19th century Civil court. Beneath the building are basements which were used as cells.

School activities include mock trials, debates and tours.

 

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Venue Address: 
George Row
Northampton
NN1 1DF
United Kingdom
Venue Contact Number: 
0115 9939 8141
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